The new state-of-the-art Publishing House features a curated collection of artistic expressions, accentuating its capacity of storytelling across borders. Various gallery spaces in the building feature artwork from Memphis-based visual artist and dedicated AMEC member Terry Lynn, which will be part of the permanent art collection of the Publishing House. The space also features a series of quilts in the two-story lobby from fiber artist Dr. Judi Wortham and a prominent portion of the exterior façade showcases the work of Brandon “BMike” Odums, a New Orleans-based muralist.
Serving both the connectional AMEC and the Nashville community, the new Publishing House is designed to be a combination of working office and gathering spaces; an impressive triumph fit for the evolving city. The Publishing House remains the publishing operation hub for the African Methodist Episcopal Church and houses eight other departments for the denomination:
– Chief Financial Officer
– Chief Information Officer
– Department of Research and Scholarship
– The Christian Recorder – the oldest continuous periodical by persons of African descent in the country
– Departments of Church Growth and Development
– Retirement Services
– Global Witness and Ministry
– House the resident Bishop and headquarters for the 13th Episcopal District
Each of these AMEC departments are housed in individual office suites. They benefit from shared and collaborative spaces such as high-tech conference rooms and a shared printing/copying center.
The broader Nashville community is also poised to benefit from the Publishing House’s new building. In addition to the offices and departments, the building features spaces the public is invited to enjoy and engage. A permanent art collection is on display and many works will be showcased in a dedicated gallery space on the first floor. The lobby is designed to be a multi-functional space that is equipped to hold chapel services, chamber concerts, literary readings, community meetings, lectures, and even theatrical productions. When this space is not reserved, the lobby will remain open as a community reading room, fit with seating, ample outlets, charging devices and Wi-Fi for those in the community to enjoy. The third floor of the building offers a banquet space, designed for community receptions, galas, and celebrations and features a private balcony that overlooks Nashville.
“Storytelling, in all its forms, is a hallmark of the African continent and diaspora. From griots and folk-tellers to poets and singers, the crafting and sharing of a story is part-and-parcel with the rich heritage of Blackness. This could not be more evident than in the crafting and execution of the new Publishing House of the African Methodist Episcopal Church which was dedicated in May 2022. The AMEC Publishing House (Sunday School Union) has been a leading force in sharing liberative stories and religious publications since the late-nineteenth century, one of the earliest institutions of its kind. This new accomplishment, constructed under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. Roderick D. Belin, president/publisher of the Publishing House, serves as a continuation of a legacy of “telling the story,” both in Nashville and beyond.” – AMEC Official